Powell’s WrestleMania 32 Kickoff Show live review: Kalisto vs. Ryback for the U.S. Title, The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz, Brie Bella, Eva Marie, Paige, Natalya, and Alicia Fox vs. Naomi, Tamina, Lana, Summer Rae, and Emma

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WWE WrestleMania 32 Kickoff Show
Aired live on WWE Network and second hour on USA Network
Dallas, Texas, at AT&T Stadium

Long lines outside the building were shown and then Renee Young, Lita, and Booker T introduced themselves from their desk inside the stadium. Corey Graves checked in from outside the building where cheering fans were still waiting to get inside…

Tom Phillips and Cathey Kelley checked in from the social media lounge (no longer Tom’s masturbation den since he’s not flying solo), where they will be joined later by Paul Heyman. Graves checked in from outside the building again… Young hyped Kalisto vs. Ryback for the U.S. Title, Total Divas vs. BAD & Blonde, and The Dudleys vs. The Uso Brothers as the Kickoff show matches… There’s another WrestleMania theme called “Oh No” by some band…

Backstage, JoJo interviewed Kevin Owens, who asked if she thought her question through. He said he didn’t ask to be put in a ladder match, he was put in the match. Owens said Dolph Ziggler is the least funny comedian ever. He called Sin Cara by the Spanish name for “no chance.” He said Zack Ryder was going to buy a ticket to come to WrestleMania until a couple weeks ago. He took jabs at Miz and Stardust. JoJo asked about Sami Zayn. Owens said he doesn’t care about their past, he cares about tonight and KOMania…

The hosts spoke about the IC Title match… A video package aired on the Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles feud… Booker gave his shucky ducky quack quack moment of the show… Graves interviewed fans in the concourse about what they were looking forward to most. The last guy who talked about Lesnar kicking some ass was great…

A Divas Title match video package aired… Lita said she will have a very special announcement in hour two…

Powell’s POV: Here’s hoping the announcement is the new title belt and a rebranded women’s division.

The hosts spoke about the women’s match, then narrated highlights League of Nations destroying New Day on Raw… A video package on the Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose match was shown…

Paul Heyman joined Phillips and Kelley in the social media lounge. Heyman spoke about how Lesnar is going to destroy Ambrose, and said he would use as many supelxes as he needed to. One of the questions was how Heyman would react if Lesnar lost. Heyman laughed. “A rabbi, a priest, and a horse walk into a bar and the bartender says, what is this a joke?” Heyman said. He asked if they were doing comedy. He asked Phillips what would happen if he looked at Kelley and she looked at him like he meant something around here. Heyman said there is no true answer because it’s hypothetical and he deals in facts. After tearing into Phillips, Heyman told Kelley that she was great…

Powell’s POV: I can listen to Heyman’s insult comedy all day long. I seriously think he could be the next great Don Rickles style comedian if he pursued a career in standup.

The hosts spoke about the women’s match, then narrated highlights League of Nations destroying New Day on Raw… A video package on the Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose match was shown…

Paul Heyman joined Phillips and Kelley in the social media lounge. Heyman spoke about how Lesnar is going to destroy Ambrose, and said he would use as many supelxes as he needed to. One of the questions was how Heyman would react if Lesnar lost. Heyman laughed. “A rabbi, a priest, and a horse walk into a bar and the bartender says, what is this a joke?” Heyman said. He asked if they were doing comedy. He asked Phillips what would happen if he looked at Kelley and she looked at him like he meant something around here. Heyman said there is no true answer because it’s hypothetical and he deals in facts. After tearing into Phillips, Heyman told Kelley that she was great…

Powell’s POV: I can listen to Heyman’s insult comedy all day long. I seriously think he could be the next great Don Rickles style comedian if he pursued a career in standup.

The hosts discussed the Lesnar and Ambrose match… Graves was in the building! He stood on the ramp and led the camera on the view that the wrestlers will have as they walk down the ramp… A WWE Hall of Fame video package aired…

Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler, and Byron Saxton checked in on commentary and then the introductions for the opening match took place…

Powell’s POV: Yes, they are starting the show even though half the crowd is still waiting to get inside the building.

1. Kalisto vs. Ryback for the U.S. Title. Eden Stiles handled the in-ring introductions. Ryback taunted Kalisto to start. Kalisto grabbed a headlock only to have Ryback slam him down face first. Ryback had the early advantage. Kalisto came back with a running knee off the apron. Ryback no-sold it and ran him into the barricade. Ryback picked up Kalisto and pressed him over his head while walking up the steps and then slamming him into the ring. Ryback was mugging for the crowd when they cut to a WrestleMania commercial in the middle of the match. [C]

Powell’s POV: I hate that they actually cut away from a WrestleMania match for a commercial. I understand that the Kickoff Show airs on various platforms, but you’d never see a commercial in the middle of a play during an NFL playoff game let alone the Super Bowl.

After the break, Ryback continued to dominate until Kalisto caught him with a DDT and followed up with a huracanrana on the kneeling Ryback. Kalisto performed a corkscrew elbow for a two count. Ryback picked him up and flung him down spinebuster style. In the end, Kalisto hit the Salida del Sol and scored the clean pin…

Kalisto defeated Ryback in 9;30 to retain the U.S. Championship.

Powell’s POV: A nice match with the crowd reacting favorably to the babyface winning the opening match.

Graves joined the panel and they spoke about the upcoming matches before making the USA Network simulcast began. The Rock’s WrestleMania video sound could be heard, but the screen was black…

The show was reset for USA Network viewers with the panel checking and talking about the show. Ranallo, Saxton, and Lawler spoke at ringside. Mauro said his and Saxton’s boyhood dream came true, as this is their first WrestleMania…

2. Brie Bella, Eva Marie, Paige, Natalya, and Alicia Fox vs. Naomi, Tamina, Lana, Summer Rae, and Emma in a 10-Diva tag match. Lilian Garcia was the ring announcer. Alicia and Summer started the match for their team. Alicia got a two count and then Summer went to her corner. Emma and Tamina entered the ring, which led to all of the women entering the ring for a bickering session to set up a commercial break. [C]

Lana checked into the match shortly after the break and caught Paige with a kick. She pointed at Brie, then tagged out once Brie tried to enter the match. Later, there were rapid fire spots by the various entrants until Naomi and Brie were left in the ring together. Naomi performed a nice split-legged moonsault, but Brie put her knees up. Brie went to the top rope even though Naomi was on the other side of the ring. Lana pushed her off. Brie rebounded quickly rolled into the Yes Lock! for the submission win over Naomi.

After the match, Paige hugged Brie. Nikki Bella came out wearing her gear and a neckbrace. Paige held the ropes open for Brie, who entered the ring and hugged her sister, then all the Total Divas members raised their arms together to celebrate the win…

Brie Bella, Eva Marie, Paige, Natalya, and Alicia Fox beat Naomi, Tamina, Lana, Summer Rae, and Emma in 11:25.

The panel spoke about the match and then Young said they would discuss the Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon match after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: A nice moment for Brie, who is expected to retire after Monday’s Raw. It was also nice to see Nikki appear with her sister. The only disappointment is that we didn’t get individual introductions, so we didn’t get to hear the live crowd let loose when Eva Marie was introduced.

The panel set up a video package for the Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon match… Young, Graves, and Booker spoke about the Taker vs. Shane match and what tomorrow would look like if Shane beats Taker…

Lita was introduced for a special announcement. A podium with a covered belt was in the ring. Lita spoke about how she wanted to be in the ring from the moment she watched Cyndi Lauper and Wendi Richter. She mentioned Fabulous Moohlah, Mae Young, Sensation Sherri, Jacqueline, and Trish Stratus. She said these women paved the way for a new division in WWE – the Divas Division.

Lita spoke about today’s women and hyped the Triple Threat match between Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks. Charlotte was booed, while Lynch and Banks received cheers. She said they have been very instrumental in the next evolution in the business. She said they are more than Divas, they are WWE Superstars.

“It is with my great honor to announce to you guys tonight that the winner of the Triple Threat will be the recipient of the first ever WWE Women’s Championship,” Lita said. She uncovered the title belt, which has the WWE logo with a red background on the main plate, and is a white belt. The crowd applauded…

Powell’s POV: Finally, the Divas name goes away. Well, I don’t know if they’ll be going with Total Women rather than Total Divas anytime soon, but I don’t know if that show will be around given its ratings decline this season. Anyway, the Diva name was dated and counterproductive, so I’m all for this change. The new belt didn’t wow me, but it’s certainly an upgrade over the silly butterfly belt.

The broadcast team spoke at ringside… [C] The panel spoke about the new women’s championship. Graves praised the women for creating the revolution in NXT, which led to the Divas Revolution, which led to this change. Renee called the new title belt “badass”… [C]

3. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. The Dudley Boyz. The Usos did their usual entrance and wore leis. The building is filling up nicely, but there are still empty seats due to the long delays entering the building. The Dudleys jumped out to a fast start by going right at the Usos. A “we want tables” chant broke out. Bubba worked over Jimmy and told him he was going to take his time and beat him in the middle of 100,000 people.

Bubba paid tribute to Stan Hansen’s call only to eat a superkick from Jimmy, who then tagged Jey into the match. The Dudleys quickly slowed him down and performed the Whassup headbutt spot. Bubba led the crowd in a “Get the tables” cheer. The Usos broke it up, which didn’t please some fans. The Dudleys recovered and Bubba called for 3D. The Uso broke that up with superkicks, and the last one on D-Von led to the clean pin.

After the match, the heel Dudleyz attacked the Usos and then introduced tables to big cheers while Saxton made them out to be hypocrites. The Dudleys set up the tables in the ring and went for a powerbomb, but the Usos fought them off and performed simultaneous superkicks. Theere were more boos. The Usos placed the Dudleys on the tables and then put them through the tables with top rope splashes, which drew cheers…

The Usos beat The Dudley Boyz in 5:20.

Powell’s POV: The finish was flat with a superkick finishing off D-Von. It was odd to see the match structured in a way where the babyfaces kept being booed because they broke up the Dudleys plans to use tables, but at least they got the cheers at the end. It was cool to see the Dudley Boyz get this moment. There was no way of knowing whether they would be welcomed back to WWE even after Bubba’s strong run as Bully Ray in TNA. I’m happy they got the call and had this moment.

The panel spoke about the attendance and how it was expected to top 100,000. Graves talked about how the record has stood for 28 years and it’s about to be broken. They hyped some of the WrestleMania matches. The panel noticed some commotion behind them. The broadcast team was being introduced. Cole was booed. JBL got a loud ovation. The panel delivered some predictions and then Young gave her a pitch for WWE Network. A video package closed the Kickoff show…

This concludes the Kickoff Show. Our WrestleMania 32 main card review is available on the main page.

SPECIAL EPISODE

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